Media Hits & Misses

Manufacturing Consent: PBS 2020 Segment Finds Time To Feature Klobuchar, Sestak & Bullock—But Completely Ignores Bernie Sanders

‘He’s Just…Erased’ By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (12/3/19) A Monday night PBS NewsHour segment on the state of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary highlighted Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s new ad campaign in Iowa, the departure of marginal candidates Steve Bullock and Joe Sestak, a tender campaign moment with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden’s “No Malarkey” bus tour—but did not once even mention Sen. Bernie Sanders despite recent key endorsements and a surge in the polls. Sanders’ presidential campaign has repeatedly accused the corporate media of ignoring the senator from Vermont, a phenomenon Sanders supporters have dubbed the “Bernie blackout.” The PBS segment, led by NewsHour correspondent Yamiche…

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Media Manipulation: How The Alt-Right Co-opted The ‘OK’ Hand Sign To Play Journalists

At some point, life begins to imitate their art, and what began as a media hoax takes on dangerously radical connotations. By Poppy Noor The Guardian (10/3/19) Another day, another seemingly harmless symbol you can’t use without appearing to be a purveyor of hate. The alt-right’s latest trophy is the OK hand sign, which was officially recognised as a hate symbol by the Anti-Defamation League over the weekend. And on Tuesday, it was reported that a Universal Orlando Resort employee was fired after concerned parents found a photo of him making the hand sign on their six-year-old’s shoulder (their child is biracial and has autism)….


Resistance Radio: The Man Who Laughed At al-Qaeda

By Mike Thomson Assignment / BBC (11/28/19) Raed Fares, founder of Syria’s legendary Radio Fresh FM, was mowed down by unknown gunmen as he left his studios in rebel-held Idlib in November 2018. The death of the man who fought hatred with humour and laughed in the faces of President Assad, ISIS and al-Qaeda, sent shockwaves way beyond his troubled homeland. When ordered by Islamist extremists to stop broadcasting music he had replied with bird song and clucking chickens. On being told to take his female presenters off air, he put their voices through software to make them sound like…


Missing The Lead: Political Reporters Ignore The Story Of GOP’s Moral & Ethical Collapse

  By Daniel Froomkin Press Watch (11/25/19) After two weeks of gripping testimony that established Donald Trump’s flagrant abuse of power beyond any reasonable doubt, after an effectively uncontested accusation that Republican conspiracy theories about Ukraine advance a Russian agenda, and after the ostensibly “moderate” members of Trump’s party actually hardened their support for the president, there is precisely one huge, overarching news story that demands to be written: That the GOP has fully descended into lawlessness and lunacy. But our elite political reporters simply can’t bring themselves to say so. Over in the opinion sections, that message is so…


Sacha Baron Cohen’s ADL Conference Keynote Address Takes Facebook & Social Media To Task For Propagating Hate

“The greatest propaganda machine in history.” [Editor’s Note: Actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen delivered a brilliant assessment of the threat and role of social media in the propagation of hate and intolerance at an  Anti-Defamation League (ADL) dinner. In particular, he took Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg to task for the role of Facebook in spreading hate worldwide, which he described as “the greatest propaganda machine in history”. Going beyond criticism, Cohen made some very useful suggestions for fixes. — Mark L. Taylor] Anti-Defamation League (11/21/19) Thank you, Jonathan, for your very kind words.  Thank you, ADL, for this recognition and your work…


Collapse Of The Information Ecosystem Poses Immediate, Profound Risks For Us All

The collapse of the information ecosystem has already wreaked havoc on our political systems. By Lydia Polgreen The Guardian (11/19/19) For the last few years, scientists have argued that we’re living through a distinctly new geological age. They call it the Anthropocene: a new age characterized by humanity’s profound impact on Earth itself as evidenced by pollution, mass extinction and climate change. We are currently facing a new systemic collapse, one that has built far more swiftly but poses potent risks for all of humanity: the collapse of the information ecosystem. We see it play out every day with the viral spread of…


Study Finds Twitter Attacks On Rep. Ilhan Omar Are ‘manufactured outrage’ Of A Surprisingly Few Accounts & Bots

A majority of 90,000 hateful Islamaphobic tweets originated from fewer than a dozen accounts, but were retweeted to prominence by bots. By Tom Crann & Megan Burks MPR (11/8/19) President Trump has made criticism of Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar a prominent part of his rallies. He’s also targeted her on Twitter, prompting others to do the same. But a study out this week details how a small group of bad actors started that tweet storm long before Omar was on the president’s radar. And the study’s authors are calling for Twitter to do more than ban paid political ads, as it announced last week. They say this unpaid messaging actually may be more damaging. “To…


‘All of us are in danger’: Journalist John Pilger Delivers A Chilling Warning For Us All From Julian Assange

“The moment we fall silent it is over.” RT (9/2/19) Journalist John Pilger has delivered a stark warning from WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, who said that his persecution is intended to kill dissent. “Speak up now,” Pilger said, or face “the silence of a new kind of tyranny.” Assange is currently serving a 50 week sentence in Belmarsh Prison for skipping a bail hearing in 2012. US authorities are seeking his extradition for his role in publishing classified documents, accusing him of espionage. Speaking at a rally outside the Home Office in London on Monday, Pilger passed on a message…


Chris Hedges: The Enemy Within Is Deep Indeed

The deep state, incapable of reform and determined to retain its grip on power, will morph under the threat of popular unrest into a corporatized fascism. By Chris Hedges TruthDig (11/4/19) Our democracy is not in peril—we do not live in a democracy. The image of our democracy is in peril. The deep state—the generals, bankers, corporatists, lobbyists, intelligence chiefs, government bureaucrats and technocrats—is intent on salvaging the brand. It is hard to trumpet yourself as the world’s guardian of freedom and liberty with Donald Trump blathering on incoherently about himself, inciting racist violence, insulting our traditional allies along with…


Police State War On The Press: Journalist Max Blumenthal Arrested On False Charge In DC

Pushback With Aaron Maté (11/3/19) The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal speaks out on his arrest months after reporting on Venezuelan opposition violence at the DC embassy. Blumenthal was seized from his home by a group of officers and held for two days in cells and cages. His arrest warrant labels him as “armed and dangerous.” Blumenthal says the charges are false and a retaliation against The Grayzone’s journalism on the US-backed coup in Venezuela and corrupt members of the right-wing Venezuelan opposition carrying it out. Link To 22-Minute Video ***** Max Blumenthal Arrest Exposes Hypocrisy Of Western Media & Supposed…


The “Joker” Is A Film About The America That Inflicted Us With Trump

  Go see this film. Take your teens. Take your resolve. By Michael Moore Michael Moore’s Facebook Page (10/6/19) On Wednesday night I attended the New York Film Festival and witnessed a cinematic masterpiece, the film that last month won the top prize as the Best Film of the Venice International Film Festival. It’s called “Joker” — and all we Americans have heard about this movie is that we should fear it and stay away from it. We’ve been told it’s violent and sick and morally corrupt — an incitement and celebration of murder. We’ve been told that police will…


From Govt. Psy-Ops To National Public Radio: New CEO John Lansing’s Glass House

By Laura Flanders Common Dreams (9/15/19) I don’t know about you, but I take a teeny weeny bit of offense when a guy in a glass house lobs a great big stone and expects me not to notice the sound of shattering. Which brings me to National Public Radio. When the ubiquitous news and public affairs network announced the appointment of a new CEO, it noted that John Lansing made his mark in his current job with “stirring defenses of journalism, free from government interference.” This had me picking through the shards when they went on to explain that Lansing comes to…


Next Up… How Showbiz Swallowed Our Politics & Democracy Itself

The conservative movement has been overtaken by performative stupidity. By Stephen Marche Medium (9/4/19) There are new rules. It doesn’t matter if you want to play by them. It doesn’t matter if you believe there should be other rules. In the world of images we have entered, a world of screens, the sudden acceleration of the scope of mass media in all forms has generated, on the right, a conservative buffoonery that has taken over the major parties, and, on the left, a tendency toward political suicide by the refinement of image. As with Ernest Hemingway’s proverbial bankruptcy, the crisis…


Free Speech, Press & Privacy On The Wane Across The World

By Kate Hodal The Guardian (8/8/19) Nearly half the world’s people are living in countries where their freedom of speech and right to privacy are being eroded, researchers have found. “Strongman” regimes seeking to squash voices of dissent and solidify political power are increasingly monitoring citizens through technology, cracking down on protests and jailing journalists, according to a ranking of 198 countries on issues including mass surveillance and data privacy. The report, launched on Thursday by global risk analysis company Verisk Maplecroft, found that about 3.38bn people, or roughly 46% of the global population, live in countries deemed to be at…


Analysis Finds US Corporate Media ‘Failing To Connect Climate Crisis To Strongest Atlantic Storm Ever To Hit Land’

By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (9/4/19) While Hurricane Dorian marched up the U.S. Southeastern coast Wednesday after devastating the Northern Bahamas, advocates for ambitious climate action reiterated the global emergency’s connection to extreme weather—even as an analysis showed that major corporate news outlets are failing to report on it. After making landfall as a Category 5 hurricane Sunday, Dorian crawled across the Bahamas Monday and Tuesday—leaving a trail of utter destruction in its wake. The Union of Concerned Scientists explained earlier this year how experts believe the human-caused climate crisis is causing more intense hurricanes: “While hurricanes are a natural part of our climate system, recent researchsuggests that there has been an…


Wisconsin Journalist & Media Commentator John Nichols Talks With Ralph Nader About The Corporate Takeover Of Newspapers

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/2/19) Wisconsin is about to see a big media change as the Gannett-owned Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel is about to be taken over by GateHouse media, a corporation known for stripping assets out of papers, slashing reporting staffs and diminishing the amount and quality of local reporting. The combination of Gannett and GateHouse will create the largest media conglomerate that will own 1 out of 6 newspapers in the country. More and more communities are going without local media, which means local government at the municipal and county levels goes unreported. Without the light…


Corporate Media Bias Against Sanders Campaign Is Structural, Not A Conspiracy

You hear about Russian oligarchs daily but you don’t hear about the American oligarchs controlling US media. The Real News (8/27/19) What the United States needs is a real discussion about the systematic structural bias against politicians and political movements that question corporate control over the news, say RootsAction.org founders Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon. Link to 22-Minute Video  


8chan: It’s Time To Shut Down Lethal Hate Site

“Obviously, American society is screwed.” — Fredrick Brennan, founder of 8chan The Daily / New York Times (8/6/19) At least three mass shootings this year — including one in El Paso — have been announced in advance on the online message board 8chan, often accompanied by racist writings. We look at the battle over shutting down the site. On today’s episode: Kevin Roose, who writes about technology for The New York Times, spoke with Fredrick Brennan, the founder of 8chan. Background reading: Fredrick Brennan started 8chan as a free speech utopia. But the site became known as something else: a megaphone…


Legendary Reporter Seymour Hersh: The World Is “Run by ignoramuses, wackos and psychotics”

Legendary investigative reporter on why the media can’t stay out of Trump’s “kitty-litter box of tweets”. [Editor’s Note: Hersh’s thoughts about impeachment and the Russia crisis are a bit contrarian. He also has some tough criticism of the state of journalism. — Mark L. Taylor] By Chauncey DeVega Salon (7/23/19) Seymour Hersh is one of America’s greatest investigative reporters. Over his career of more than 50 years, he has covered many of the most important stories of that period. He helped expose the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, in which hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians were killed by…


How Media Timidly Downplays & Enables Trump’s Ugly Racism

The only way to resist Trump’s firehose of Orwellian lies is to loudly, repeatedly and publicly call them lies. By Amanda Marcotte Salon (7/19/19) With plodding predictability, we’re now supposed to believe that Donald Trump is unhappy with racist chants by his followers and true believers. And that’s after he spent the better part of the past week defending and doubling down on his use of a classic white supremacist demand that people of color should “go back” to wherever their ancestors came from. Resisting Trump’s efforts at gaslighting and manipulating the media requires reporters and editors not to give more weight to…


‘Official Secrets’ — Movie About Courageous UK Intel Whistleblower Who Leaked Damning Memo

  [Editor’s Note: The disastrous Iraq War rolled forward and was enabled by government deceit and malfeasance, bitter failure and active complicity of the British and American corporate media. In the midst of the craven battalions of government and corporate media a few brave souls stood out. Here’s the story of a courageous 27 year-old intelligence worker who stood for truth and principle. — Mark L. Taylor] Democracy Now! (7/19/19) In 2003, Katharine Gun, a young specialist working for Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, exposed a highly confidential memo that revealed the United States’ collaboration with Britain in collecting sensitive information…


Famed CBS Journalist Edward R. Murrow Reminds Us Of What It Means To Be Americans: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.”

“A Report On Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy” / “See It Now” on CBS – March 9, 1954. “Earlier the Senator asked, “Upon what meat does this, our Caesar, feed?” Had he looked three lines earlier in Shakespeare’s Caesar, he would have found this line, which is not altogether inappropriate: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” “No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the junior senator from…


Refusing To Report On Church Rock: “The worst incident of radiation contamination in the history of the United States”

Now 40 years on, I know that the corporate media is still not to be trusted when it comes to covering the nuclear, or any other area of the energy industry.   Editor’s note: In New Mexico, the Church Rock Spill of July 16, 1979 has been called “the worst incident of radiation contamination in the history of the United States.” Catherine Caufield in “Multiple Exposures,” and Harvey Wasserman and Norman Solomon in “Killing Our Own,” reported that when the earthen dam holding radioactive uranium mine tailings burst, it released 93 million gallons of liquid wastes and more than 1,100…


‘A Brutal Violation Of Press Freedom’ — Journalist Glenn Greenwald Targeted With Investigation By Brazilian Government After Reporting On Corruption

The fallout from Greenwald’s reporting is having a major affect on Brazilian politics. By Eoin Higgins Common Dreams (7/4/19) The Brazilian government is targeting one of its biggest critics, journalist Glenn Greenwald, in a move that has been decried by observers as an intimidation tactic designed to stifle opposition to right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. The government’s finance ministry’s money laundering unit was asked by federal police to investigate Greenwald’s finances, O Antagonista reported Tuesday. The right-wing Brazilian news site said that the investigation would focus on whether Greenwald paid for access to leaked records he used in reporting on the Bolsonaro government’s “Operation Car…


MSNBC, The Liberal Network? Please. Here’s How Corporate Media Really Works

MSNBC Ordered Ed Schultz Not To Cover Bernie Sanders, Then Fired Him. [Editor’s Note: There’s also good information in this clip regarding the duplicitous actions of the corporate-dependent Democratic Party leadership. — Mark L. Taylor] The Young Turks (4/19/18) The owners of MNSBC hate Bernie Sanders, and don’t want their hosts talking about him. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down. “Former MSNBC host Ed Schultz opened up in a recent interview about why he believes he was fired in 2015. Schultz, who’s now anchor of a show on RT, told National Review‘s Jamie Weinsteinthat he believes…


Green Blood: Environmental Journalists Facing Increased Harassment & Murder

“Investigative reporting on the environment can be as dangerous a beat as reporting on narco smuggling.” By Juliette Garside & Jonathan Watts The Guardian (6/17/19) Thirteen journalists who were investigating damage to the environment have been killed in recent years and many more are suffering violence, harassment, intimidation and lawsuits, according to a study. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which produced the tally, is investigating a further 16 deaths over the last decade. It says the number of murders may be as high as 29, making this field of journalism one of the most dangerous after war reporting. On every continent reporters have…


Chickens! New York Times Cartoon Black Out

“By choosing not to print editorial cartoons in the future, the Times can be sure that their editors will never again make a poor cartoon choice. Editors at the Times have also made poor choices of words in the past. I would suggest that the Times should also choose not to print words in the future – just to be on the safe side.” – Editorial cartoonist Daryl Cagle, NY Times Trashes Cartoonists ***** New York Times Cartoon Ban Leads To A World Where We Say Nothing At All In a world where political cartoonists are routinely jailed, the paper…


Matt Taibbi On Media Attacks On Tulsi Gabbard & The Tradition Of Smearing Peace Candidates

“An effective but despicable form of politics.” Primo Nutmeg (6/8/19) In this clip from his interview on PRIMO NUTMEG #176, Rolling Stone political journalist Matt Taibbi discusses the smear campaign against 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, as well as the corporate media’s general bias against peace candidates, which has caused other candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to be more careful with their rhetoric. Link to 6-Minute Video  


Trump’s Accusations Of The ‘Lying Press’ Has Roots Going Right Back To Hitler’s Technique Of The “Big Lie”

Donald Trump’s attacks on “the enemy of the people” aren’t random outbursts. By Richard E. Frankel Salon (6/9/19) At an election rally in Cleveland in October 2016, two supporters of Donald Trump were captured on video shouting, “Lügenpresse!” What was going on? Why would people who are looking to Trump to “Make America Great Again,” be shouting a German word at one of his events? And what did it mean? The “lying press” — an idea at the heart not only of Trump’s campaign and presidency, but of his entire worldview. The news media, Trump complains, treats him unfairly. It does not report…



A ‘Crossroads Moment’ — Why Julian Assange Must Never Be Extradited

“The 18-count indictment is an authoritarian’s dream.” By Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone (5/31/19) WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today sits in the Belmarsh High Security prison in southeast London. Not just for his sake but for everyone’s, we now have to hope he’s never moved from there to America. The United States filed charges against Assange early last month. The case seemed to have been designed to assuage fears that speech freedoms or the press were being targeted. That specific offense was “computer hacking conspiracy” from back in 2010. The “crime” was absurdly thin, a claim that Assange agreed (but failed, apparently) to try…


Matt Taibbi “Insane Clown President”

“The arc of the sort of failure of our business has really steepened in the last year or so. As news consumers people should pay more and more attention to independent media and alternative media, and worry more and more about the commercial media going forward.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/30/19) Now well into Year III of the deadly serious non-stop, mind and soul-numbing Donald Trump National Freakshow it is hard to recall just how stunning his 2016 victory was. Right up to election eve every one was sure Hillary Clinton would wipe Trump off the map….


‘This Is About Attacking Journalism,’ Warn Press Freedom Defenders As Trump DOJ Hits Assange With New Espionage Charges

The Editor   By Jessica Corbett Common Dreams (5/21/19) In an unprecedented move that journalists and press freedom defenders denounced as “the most significant and terrifying threat to the First Amendment in the 21st century,” the Trump Justice Department announced Thursday that a federal grand jury charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with 17 new counts of violating the Espionage Act. “This is about attacking journalism and the public’s right to information about war crimes done in their name with their dollars,” The Intercept‘s Jeremy Scahill said in a series of tweets. “This is about retaliation for publishing evidence of U.S. war crimes and other crimes by…


Why The Guardian Is Reforming The Language It Uses To Report On The Environmental Crisis

From now on, house style guide recommends terms such as ‘climate crisis’ and ‘global heating’. By Damian Carrington, Environment editor The Guardian (5/17/19) The Guardian has updated its style guide to introduce terms that more accurately describe the environmental crises facing the world. Instead of “climate change” the preferred terms are “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” and “global heating” is favoured over “global warming”, although the original terms are not banned. “We want to ensure that we are being scientifically precise, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue,” said the editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner. “The phrase ‘climate change’, for…


Progressive Talk Radio Returns To Madison With Longtime Co-Host Of ‘Devil’s Advocates Radio’

By Mark Sommorhauser Wisconsin State Journal (5/13/19) For the first time since 2016, Madison has a liberal talk-radio station on the local airwaves. TALK 92.7 FM went live Saturday, said longtime Wisconsin liberal radio host Mike Crute. Crute co-hosts the daily program that will anchor the new station’s lineup, “The Devil’s Advocates Radio Show.” He also runs the entity that will oversee its programming. In launching TALK 92.7, Crute is betting the left-leaning politics and high political engagement in the Madison area will make for a winning market for liberal talk radio, a format that — unlike its conservative counterpart…


With Govt. Not Doing Its Job, Who Stands In The Way Of Artificial Intel Dystopia? These Google Activists

  By Veena Dubal The Guardian (5/3/19) The most pressing moral, political and social issues of our time converge in and at Google. As the largest and most successful “big data” company, Google has the unfettered power not just to shape – but to declare (in the words of Shoshana Zuboff) – our futures. The data that the company harvests, sells and uses to create automation systems literally determine our life chances: how we are interpreted and understood by police and military technologies, our credit scores, our access to healthcare, our professional reputations, how much we pay for goods and services, and our ability to obtain work. Unlike…


Dear, God, What Have We Done To Be Plagued With Meghan McCain?

Expertise is not the currency of television infotainment. By Jacob Bacharach Truthdig (5/3/19) I cannot bring myself to hate Meghan McCain. What would be the point? She is the natural endpoint of a giddily vacuous celebrity culture, a sort-of famous person who plays a sort-of famous person on TV. She frequently says stupid and hateful things, but they always seem uncalculated, and she is endlessly surprised to find that people disagree with her. (One suspects that the household staff never did, and now that she’s wandered off the compound and into public life, she can’t quite seem to grasp that…


Assange’s Indictment Is Trump’s Next Step In His War On Our Free Press

  By Trevor Timm The Guardian (4/13/19) The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is so disliked in journalism and political circles that many reporters and liberal politicians were publicly cheering on Thursday when the Trump administration released an indictment of Assange, which was related to his interactions with the whistleblower Chelsea Manning in the months leading up to the publication of Pentagon and state department cables in 2010. Please do not fall for this trap. It is exactly what the Trump administration is hoping for, as the Department of Justice (DoJ) moves forward with its next dangerous step in its war on journalism…


A ‘Mole Among Trolls’ Went Undercover At A Russian Online Troll Factory & Found Hundreds Of Russians Working As Paid Trolls In Rotating Shifts

  “Each worker has a quota to fill every day and every night. Because the factory works around the clock. It never stops. Not for a second.” Charles Maynes PRI’s The World (3/18/19) Slaying online trolls can be a lonely business. Just ask Russia’s Lyudmila Savchuk, who first exposed the story of Russia’s disinformation campaign back in 2014. The journalist and 33-year-old mother of two, Savchuk started noticing websites and social media accounts attacking local opposition activists in her hometown of Saint Petersburg with a frequency she hadn’t seen before. The posts were all too similar. The verbal assaults too…


On The 16th Anniversary Of Disastrous Iraq War, Matt Taibbi Asks ‘Where Were The Reporters?

In this March 23rd episode of The Zero Hour Richard ‘RJ’ Eskow and Rolling Stone journalist and book author Matt Tiabbi mark the 16th anniversary of the disastrous Cheney/Bush Iraq by reviewing the many mistakes, errors and missed opportunities and close cooperation of most of the American media in leading the nation to war and the Middle East to multiple senseless tragedies. Link to 34-Minute Video ****** 16 Years Later, How The Press That Sold The Iraq War Got Away With It How the media built new lies to cover their early ones. By Matt Taibbi Rolling Stone (3/22/19) Sixteen…